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Germany proposes free public transport to curb pollution, avoid big fines

14 February 2018

The news originates with a letter reportedly seen by Reuters - sent to European Union Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, and signed by Germany's Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, chancellery head Peter Altmaier, and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt - which lays out other possibilities as well (which are less ambitious), so the plans are by no means a sure thing as of yet.

The government of Germany is now mulling the idea of making public transportation system use in heavily polluted cities free as a means of reducing emissions and thus improving air quality, Reuters has reported.

According to AFP, which first reported on the letter, other proposed measures include further restrictions on emissions from vehicle fleets like buses and taxis, low-emissions zones and support for car-sharing schemes.

As urban centers all over the world find ways to curb pollution, Germany has proposed a radical plan to offer free public transportation in order to get cars off the road.

How exactly the cost of the free public transportation would be covered though remained unclear. When asked about the details of the free ticket plans, a spokeswoman with the city of Bonn told DW that there wasn't much to elaborate on.

The government has chose to test the effectiveness of this proposal by the end of this year in five cities across western Germany.

"Whoever wants cheap local public transportation has to be able to pay for it", German Association of Cities "Staedtetag" director Helmut Dedy said.

According to the VDV, nearly half of the money that goes into Germany's municipal public transportation companies comes from ticket sales - $14.8 billion a year.

The German government's idea to test free public transportation was also one of Berlin's latest attempts to conform to environmental standards and appease German carmakers.

German authorities face legal action because of air quality problems in cities.

Several courts in Germany were also independently mulling imposing a driving ban on diesel vehicles in the worst-affected cities. Its content is created separately from USA TODAY.

Germany proposes free public transport to curb pollution, avoid big fines